My press release today in response to announcement on future of the GKN Aerospace factory in Kings Norton:
CLOSURE OF GKN AEROSPACE KINGS NORTON A BREACH OF FAITH SAYS MP
Richard Burden MP has described as a “breach of faith” the announcement by GKN Aerospace that its Kings Norton factory in his constituency is to close with the loss of over 170 jobs. The factory produces high performance windscreens and windows for both civilian and military aircraft. The company says that the factory will be run down over the next two years with its work being transferred to “other GKN Aerospace sites or low cost areas”.
Last year the future of GKN was the subject of intense debate when Melrose Industries successfully mounted a hostile takeover bid for the company, prompting fears that it would undermine the UK’s manufacturing base in key areas such as aerospace and automotive. In response, Melrose made a series of undertakings to reassure the Takeover Panel of its commitment to UK manufacturing. In a letter to Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Commons Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on 13th March 2018, Melrose Chief Executive, Simon Peckham said his company’s commitments included:
“Returning GKN to be a British Manufacturing powerhouse, competitive on the global stage”;
“Committed to innovation investing in skills, R&D, and productivity to support the Industrial Strategy”; and
“Working with suppliers and customers to boost Britain’s Industrial base and the wider economy” [See note 1]
Richard Burden said today:
“Barely a year has passed since Melrose were falling over themselves to tell everybody how committed they were to UK manufacturing, but their words ring hollow today. Not only do they want to close a UK plant which is a key part of the supply chain for the aviation industry but their warning that production could move to “low-cost areas” means they plan to shift this specialised work out of the UK altogether.
In the light of the legally-binding undertakings Melrose gave to him last year I will be asking the Business Secretary to make urgent approaches to GKN about its latest announcement.
Whether or not the closure of GKN Aerospace breaches the letter of those undertakings, it runs contrary to the impression that Melrose sought to give of its intentions at the time. It is a breach of faith with GKN employees, with my constituents and with UK manufacturing as a whole.”
- A letter from the Chief Executive of Melrose Industries to the Business, Energy and Industrial Select Committee regarding the takeover of GKN Aerospace can be found here.
- Richard Burden is MP for Birmingham Northfield. More information about Richard can be found on his website: http://richardburden.com/